Mission accomplished for Sun Devils

From the moment the Sun Devils took the field from the Pat Tillman tunnel, it was clear they were on a mission. Walking in a soldier like fashion, the maroon and gold began to show exactly why they consider themselves a band of brothers. With the stadium blacked out, the maroon and gold pulled off a thrilling 37-30 win in overtime over Missouri.

"It was a blackout, I believe it was sold out and on a Friday night game so we couldn't make it easy, had to keep things exciting and our team is just relentless, we refused to give up," quarterback Brock Osweiler said. "We came into the stadium tonight with t-shirts that on the front said "band of brothers". We firmly believe that's how this team is and that's how we stick together and that we can get through these hard fought games."

Throughout the matchup, the Sun Devils ran into their fair share of issues, primarily the same thing that plagued them last season. With 12 penalties for 110 yards, the maroon and gold began to look very similar to their 2010 selves but in the end were able to pull together to secure the win.

"I really believed in my team and that we're going to make plays," commented wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad. "Just coming together as a team, we're going to find a way to win no matter what and it was a great team victory and it was a great day to be an ASU Sun Devil.

"We just really wanted to get the victory for the team and just play for those guys, play for my brothers and we all game together once again and we all seemed to make plays at the most opportune times and it's just a great team victory and I'm happy to be part of it."

Offensively, Pflugrad had a career high performance with 8 catches for 180 yards. The senior wide receiver scored 2 of ASU's touchdowns, a 60-yard catch from Osweiler in the second followed by 35-yard catch from Jamal Miles in the third.

"I think it was just a good job by Brock putting it in there," Pflugrad stated. "I really didn't notice the defender because he put it in a spot where I could still make the catch so I think it was just good timing and a good ball so I was able to make the play."

Although running back Jamal Miles also had a standout night at Sun Devil Stadium, scoring the winning touchdown in overtime, in his mind it was tainted by a fumbled punt return early in the fourth quarter.

"I had a lot going through my mind," Miles said. "I had one of the big turning points in the game when I dropped the punt return and I knew I had to make a play and I didn't want to lose.

"There were a lot of emotions going on with me. I felt like I just had to make a play after I muffed the punt but the coaches trusted in me to put the ball in my hands and I made everything of the opportunity."

Defensively, the maroon and gold were as powerful as usual, keeping the Tigers offense to only 10 points in the first half. Penalties again plagued the defense but they were able to stand their ground when it really mattered, stopping the Mizzou offense from scoring during overtime.

Leading the Sun Devil defense in tackles was senior Colin Parker with 11 tackles and despite the well earned victory, Parker was the first to admit his unit was nowhere near perfect against the Tigers.

"It was good at times and bad at times," Parker said. "We had drives extended by penalties and some things that we don't want to do but on the other hand we had times when we went three and out and it was good. So, there's good and bad, we have to look at the film and learn from the bad and keep doing the good.

"It was tough because they run so many empty sets and we didn't have eyes back on the quarterback so once be escaped the pocket he was kind of just off to the races. We didn't tackle all that well in the first half so that hurt us and then the penalties so there are just some things we need to clean up."

After a well earned victory in a nearly sold out stadium wearing all black, the maroon and gold are soaking it all in before they return to work next week to prepare for what will undoubtedly be another challenge as they travel to Illinois to face the Fighting Illini.

"It's what you work for," Osweiler began. "When you're waking up at 5:30 in the morning from January to August and you're doing all the workouts and watching all the film, these are the games you're working for, the big games to win when they're close and for us to do that tonight it's a great feeling but at the same that's just one win. We have to get ready for Illinois right away, they're a very quality opponent and we have a lot more games this year that we've got to get ready for."

And as for if we'll be seeing the all black jerseys again this season, that's to be determined.

"I think we'll see the black," Miles said. "It might not be all black but I think we'll be in black again."

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